There are some films in your teenage years that resonate a true fondness in your memory. You remember when you first watched it, that feeling of getting to know the characters as their friendship for each other develops. Invested in their close bond together on the screen, you care for these characters as they look out for one another. This comes across in laughter, bravery in the face of danger, keeping an eye on their partners back, a bond so close they could be brothers, a real bromance. The buddy cop movie is always a sure fire winner in that movie genre cannon. Running Scared ticked all those boxes for me as a youth.
Now don’t get me wrong hehe I know Running Scared was no classic and if I’m being very honest, I’ve been putting off a revisit for many years. Running scared, so to speak, not wanting to ruin my first and only viewing experience when I rented on VHS from our local Ritz Video chain (later to get bought out by Blockbuster Video). Kind of inspired by fellow film blogger Mike’s Take On The Movies recent post on another 80’s buddy cop movie, Stakeout I thought it only fitting to throw caution to the wind and basically man up! It was either gonna have tears of joy or my teenage memories crushed to a pulp! I sucked it up and pushed the play button with my uncontrollable shaking finger!
Tagline – Two of Chicago’s Finest?
Jeez the opening intro scene didn’t do much for my morale, good lawdy that stinking stilton lump of 80’s cheesy sax. Can you believe this is Rod Temperton, the legendary British songwriter who wrote Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Rock With You, George Benson’s Give Me The Night and countless other instant hit pop tunes! Well yep it is and in sure fire eighties soundtrack style the music is ripe but hey it’s fun and ties the film firmly to the era of 1986.
The music fades and here we get to see our two cheeky Chicago cop buddies Ray Hughes (Gregory Hines) and Danny Costanzo (Billy Crystal) as they bust balls as undercover detectives. They are staking out the premises of local bad boy drug dealer crook, Snake (Joe Pantoliano). A hood with a suitcase filled with $50K of cash money. This dude has connections to the real thug they want, up and coming drug dealer Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits). Julio Gonzales wants to be the new top drug lord of Chicago and these two annoying cops are ruining his perfect plans.
But we all know everything isn’t going to be that sweet and easy for Ray and Danny. In walks barking Captain Logan (Dan Hedaya) with total disdain and despair at the two wise cracking cop failures and decides these two need a vacation as punishment. He knows they live for the drama, the adrenaline rush of the police work, the slow paced holiday is gonna drive them mad. It will teach them a lesson. It’s does, well, until they buy a bar! Drinking on the job, serving sexy ladies and still policing as such, as bouncers throwing out the riff raff. They realise they are tired of being shot at and it’s only a matter of time before one of them, if not both of them are gonna get killed.
With 30 days notice on their work contract, they just have to stay alive. Plus it would be good to bring down Julio Gonzales as a notch on their retirement. With two assigned rookies to help, hopefully everything is going to be nice and easy? They got 30 days to stay alive!!
A few random observations
- The Florida Key West vacation montage is hilarious, with all the buddy bonding, roller skating, novelty t-shirts, cheating at fishing and a multitude of bikini clad babes all dancing to the sweet sound of the velvet blue eyed soul brother number one, Michael McDonald’s Sweet Freedom.
- Steven Bauer is pretty unrecognisable with his beard and long hair, he plays one of the rookie cops Detective Frank Sigliano. He is best known I feel for being Tony Montana (Al Pacino) best friend Manny Ribera in the Scarface.
- Tracy Reed, who plays Ray’s girl Maryann, quick bottom and boob flash always seemed to stay in my head for some reason!
- I didn’t remember the train line car chase being quite so ridiculous!
- Larry Hankin plays the magic cop mechanic Ace in a brilliant little scene.
- Directed by Peter Hyams who made two awesome sci-fi’s on my favs list, Sean Connery in Outland and Elliott Gould in Capricorn One.
So! drum roll, did watching this for the second time put a rift in the universe and destroy my teenage years? Did I go into the fetal position, slowly rocking and weeping? Hopefully you will be pleased to hear…. I was ok! It’s still fun, rather cheesy and I couldn’t remember the soundtrack being quite so bad. To be honest it was probably never a great film to start with but something about the duo, the friendship and the fun stuck with me and it all held firmly together. I go on to live another day. Haha
Is there any films from your youth that you might be running scared from and not watching in case they smash your dreams? What did you think of Billy and Gregory together and did you like this film? If you want to, let me know. Thanks for having a read. Have fun watching movies…Mikey Wolf
And to sing us out please step forward Mr Michael Mcdonald. It’s like a trailer for the film plus the boys join Michael for a beer and a dance around the piano. Pure gold.